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Ensuring nobody gets left behind

 ACRT Asks Minister for Income Support for Asylum Seekers

On 26 March 2020, the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) wrote to Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge MP, and the Prime Minister, calling for the Federal Government to urgently extend income support and access to Medicare to asylum seekers under the Coronavirus support package to vulnerable groups.

ACRT request that:

  • the 30,000 women, men and children who are on bridging visas (which give no certainty about the future) or without a visa, be included in the income support measures announced by the Commonwealth government
  • all asylum seekers (at any stage of their application process) be given access to Medicare 
  • all asylum seekers who lose their jobs (usually these are low paid, part time or casual) have the same access to income support as others in the Australian community

Read the full Letter to MP and PM here here - https://www.acrt.com.au/uploads/ACRT_NCCA-Letter.pdf

Read the ACRT article - https://www.acrt.com.au/coronavirus-package.html

 

Refugee Council of Australia

It is an unprecedented moment in our world's history. We will never forget it. Yet while we are all facing our own challenges and hardships. Thus the Refugee Council of Australia (RCA)is asking you to help them lobby the government to ensure it is supporting everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just those lucky enough to have Australian citizenship.

There are tens of thousands of people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia and in offshore detention centres who are facing extreme need and are incredibly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. While the support packages announced to date by the Morrison government are welcome news for many, they have left out many people who will be affected by this pandemic. 

ACTION

Help us ensure people seeking asylum and refugees are supported at this critical time.  Write to your local MP now and ask them to extend support to people seeking asylum and refugees?

DETAILS:

The Australian Health Department has identified people in detention facilities as one of six highly vulnerable groups in the face of COVID-19. Additionally, many people living and working in the community are experiencing the full brunt of this crisis - losing work, experiencing destitution and for some, lacking access to proper medical treatment.

The situation for many is untenable, and while many people are trying incredibly hard to make ends meet, they cannot do the impossible. Like many in our society, people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia need additional support at this time of crisis.

Not only is this the just thing to do, it also makes sense. With a public health emergency unfolding, we are all benefited by people having an income, housing and medical support. It is particularly outrageous that some people don't even have access to Medicare at this critical time. This is a risk to us all. We cannot leave people behind.

We know that if enough of us express these concerns to key government representatives that we could achieve an amazing outcome. There have already been hints by the government that it is considering extending support to migrants and refugees.

The Refugee Council of Australia has consulted widely with its members and we are now urging the government to take five key actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have included these in the email you can send your MP. Together we are calling on the government to:

  1. Move people urgently out of crowded immigration detention facilities 
  2. Ensure a financial safety net and Medicare access for people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia 
  3. Prevent people losing legal status and access to support
  4. Move refugees and people seeking asylum from PNG and Nauru 
  5. Ensure that refugees on temporary SHEV visas are not penalised in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

For more information see www.refugeecouncil.org.au 

 

Sydney Alliance

....some of the 2.6 million casual workers, most visa holders and those working in the cash economy excluded under the Job Keeper policy announced this week. 

Economic disaster, Coronavirus, hunger, homelessness or exploitation don't stop to ask a person’s visa status. It is just not possible to keep 25 million people healthy if half a million people are vulnerable to this virus because they are falling through the cracks. We are all in this together after all. 

The vision:

Sydney Alliance is calling on state and Federal government to ensure everyone living in Australia is able to access Job Keeper, the social safety net, a safe home and Medicare. 

ACTIONS: 

Parliament has been called on Wednesday 8th of April to pass the Job Keeper legislation. The Alliance wants to see an expansion of Job Keeper to cover all workers in Australia. 

Can you call your local MP today? 

(Friday 3rd of April) or Monday? (Who’s my MP?)

Call out to religious organisations with worship this weekend:

Can your parish, congregation, mosque, temple or synagogue include this issue in the teaching/sermon or prayers? If so let us know, we are compiling a list of the very many religious groups across the country who will be speaking out on this issue over the weekend. 

Please email me by 12pm Sunday, direct This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if your congregation, parish, synagogue, mosque or temple can make this commitment. 

Share your story 

Sydney Alliance are compiling stories of those affected. 

The Alliance are particularly interested in hearing stories from managers and small business owners who have to face difficult decisions on choosing between keeping on citizens covered by job keepers or migrant workers facing destitution. Please email me direct This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.